Archive for October, 2018

Microsoft Word – The Lord’s Prayer.docx

The final petition of the Lord’s Prayer concerns prayer for God’s protection. We are
instructed to pray for the prevention of temptation and for the protection from evil.

The word temptation has a double sense. The English word temptation is usually
defined as the “seduction to evil.” But the Greek word is neutral and is translated in
many ways:

• test
• trial
• prove
• temptation

So when we encounter the word temptation in the New Testament, we need to view
the word in its context so we can understand whether the Bible is talking about
seductions to evil or trials that we encounter.

Anytime there is a trial or test in the Bible there is the possibility of passing or
failing. So when God brings a test, there is the possibility that the trial can be turned
into a temptation. So the implication of the request is this. “Lord, don’t lead us into a
trial that will present to us a temptation such that we will not be able to resist it.”

We are to pray to be spared from trials. But if trials come, we are to further pray that
we will be protected in the trial so that we can find growth through it.

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The most costly and essential thing God ever did was to provide us with the forgiveness of sin. This part of the Lord’s Prayer focuses on meeting on of the most critical needs we face. Before we get into the meat of the request, it is helpful to understand sin and the affect it was on our lives.

God is holy and has established himself as the standard of perfection by which our lives are to be measured (1 Peter 1:14-16). At the same time, sin is a reality in the life of every believer (Romans 7:14-20).

Sin creates distance in our relationship with God. Though we experience relational distance, God pursues us so that we will return to him (John 16:8-11; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 4:21). God pursues us through conviction by the Holy Spirit.

Our appropriate response to God’s invitation to return is to confess and forsake our sin. To confess means to “agree with” God about our sin (Proverbs 28:13). When we confess our sin, God promises to “forgive” and to “cleanse” (1 John 1:9). God deals with both the root and the fruit of each sin we confess.

Forgiveness is a financial term that means “to release a debt.” When God forgives a sin, he no longer holds the offense against us (Psalm 103:11-12).

We will never be fully effective in our prayer lives until we become willing to confess our sins to God and embrace his forgiveness. The all knowing, all seeing God is clearly aware of the sins we commit and wants us to come closer to him by confessing them and receiving his forgiveness.

While we may experience no greater feeling than the feeling that comes in knowing we have been forgiven, the request assumes that we in turn become forgiving persons. While many excellent books have been written on the topic of forgiving those who have wronged us, here are two simple thoughts for you to consider related to forgiving others.

First, forgiving others follows the example of Christ (Ephesians 4:32). He has not asked us to do something that he himself has not already done. Immersing yourself in the passion narrative of Christ will remind you that forgiving others always comes at a deep and personal sacrifice.

Second, forgiving others broadens and deepens our relationship with Christ. Forgiving others is a characteristic of God, and when we forgive we demonstrate the depth of our walk with him. It has been said that we are never more like God than when we give and forgive. (Matthew 5:23-34; Colossians 3:12-17)

What about those moments when we doubt whether or not God has forgiven us? What do with do with those feelings? We accept God’s forgiveness, like anything else, by faith. In order to be free from guilty feelings that pop up from time to time we have to take God at his Word (Psalm 32:1-2). If God has promised to forgive, he has. Period.

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This request marks the transition from praying God’s agenda into praying for our agenda. How do we pray for our physical and material needs?

Jesus taught us that it is appropriate and right for us to ask him to meet our physical and material needs. While he does not promise to meet our wants, he does commit to providing for our needs (Philippians 4:19).

He also taught that we are to view God as the source of everything we need (Genesis 1:29-31; 1 Chronicles 29:14; Matthew 7:1-11; James 1:17). Nothing in Jesus’ culture was more common than bread. The call to ask for our simple daily needs reminds us that we should not limit our prayers to big needs or catastrophic loss.

Even though God has provided for our needs, we are still commanded to ask. Asking is an expression of humility and dependence. We are to ask God to meet our material and physical needs so we can focus our desires on the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

Expressing our faith and dependence on God on a daily basis provides us with two important benefits. First, we can live with a confidence that is free from worry (Matthew 6:25-33). Second, we can live with a contentment that does not seek fulfillment from material things (1 Timothy 6:3-11; Hebrews 13:5-6). God is not stingy. He does not revel in our poverty. He expects us to make our daily needs a part of our daily prayer.

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The word “kingdom” comes from the Greek word basileia, which literally means “rule” or “reign.” We can therefore understand that the Kingdom of God as the rule and reign of God within the hearts and lives of his people (Luke 17:20-21). Dallas Willard describes the Kingdom of God as the range or extent of which the will of God is done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Used 118 times in the New Testament, the Kingdom of God was the central focus of Jesus’ teaching ministry.

What are some helpful observations about prayer concerning the will of God as it relates to our lives in his Kingdom? 
The will of God is done without exception in heaven. That should be pretty evident! 
According to Romans 12:2, the will of God is “good, acceptable, and perfect.”  The will of God involves submitting my will to God and prioritizing his will above my own (Matthew 26:36-46) and is primarily discerned through Scripture and prayer (Acts 10:34- 36; 44-48).
 The will of God is confirmed through the community of faith (Acts 15:1-21) and is applied through obedience (Acts 15:22-30).
Ultimately, the goal of knowing and doing God’s will is to advance his Kingdom (Acts 15:31- 35).

So how do we pray for the Kingdom of God to come on Earth as it is in Heaven?

We pray for the rule of God to be complete in our own lives and to be
aligned with the plan and purposes of God, as opposed to asking God to approve
our own plans and purposes. We pray for his rule and reign to be enacted
anywhere it does not exist, and seek to cooperate with that work.
 Finally, we
pray for his second advent. 


This phrase has been called “the master prayer of the Christian.” Its located in the heart of the prayer, and serves as the hinge upon which God’s agenda and our agenda swings.

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Praying to God as “Father” reminds us that we pray on the basis of our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is a love relationship, not a legal relationship. God desires an intimate relationship with us.

Prayer is one of the vehicles at God’s disposal by which he can demonstrate who he is. In John 14:13, Jesus said, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father” (NIV).

Jesus taught that we are to “hallow” the name of our heavenly Father. To hallow God’s name is to ascribe reverence, respect and awe to God’s name (cf. Exodus 20:7). In the Old Testament, Jews attributed such reverence to God’s name that they would not speak or write it. God’s proper name is Yahweh, which means “I AM THAT I AM.” Another important name for God is Adonai, which means, “The Lord God.” Out of reverence, the Jews took the consonants out of Yahweh and the vowels out of Adonai to form the word “Jehovah.” You can always recognize the Hebraic use of Yahweh in the Old Testament when you see the word “LORD” in capital letters.

So what does it mean to hallow God’s name? The word hallow finds its root in the Greek word hagiazo. The noun form of the word, hagios, gives us the word “holy.” Therefore, to hallow God’s name means to revere and speak his name with reverence.

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Oct
08

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father

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If prayer is something we are to do without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), then we need to make sure we are doing it properly. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, but its important to notice what he did not teach them. For example, he did not teach them the posture of prayer. Nothing is said as to whether we are to stand, sit or kneel. Neither did he teach them where to pray. He did not specify the living room, the church Sanctuary, the bedroom or the office. He simply said it should be done privately. He did not teach them when they should pray, which is a relief to some. You can pray in the morning, the afternoon or night. There is no right or wrong time to pray. Finally, he did not teach what we should wear or how to act when we pray. So most of the formalities of prayer are insignificant to Christ.

Prayer begins by calling God “father.” Father is probably one of the more common names we use when addressing God in prayer. Jesus’ example teaches that we should begin our prayer with the recognition that God is Father. In fact, when Jesus prayed he called God “Father” over seventy times. The only exception was his cry on the cross during the final moments of his crucifixion (Matthew 27:46).

There are two words for Father that are helpful to understand. The Greek word for Father is pater, where we get the word paternity. It is a word signifying one who nourishes, protects and upholds. Often it was used of the nearest ancestor, and was commonly used to describe the progenitor of the people.

The other word is abba, which is an Aramaic word denoting an unreasoning trust. In American English we would use the word “daddy.” It speaks of the love and confidence that a child would place in his dad.

When Jesus used the term Father, he was teaching the disciples that our relationship with God is an intimate familial relationship. When we pray, “our Father,” we are indicating an eagerness to come to God as a child that is beloved. All of the resources in the Father’s possession are ours to draw upon.

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When Jesus began teaching on the subject of prayer, he anticipated that there would be questions about how prayer should be offered. Prior to the model prayer he listed some basic do’s and don’ts about how to pray.

In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus told the disciples to not pray like the hypocrites, because they pray with the wrong motive. They pray to impress other people. In the following two verses Jesus told the disciples to not pray like people of other religions, because they pray in the wrong manner. They pray to impress God.

How then shall we approach prayer?

1. We are to pray with sincerity. “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.” (Matthew 6:5)

2. We are to pray with secrecy. “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)

It has been said that the secret of religion is religion in secret. Notice also that Jesus assumes our prayers.

3. We are to pray with simplicity. “When you pray, don’t babble on and on like people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” (Matthew 6:7)

Spending time in prayer will vary, depending on the need. Jesus is warning against the assumption that the longer you pray for something the more likely you will receive the answer you want to your prayer. Remember, Elijah called down fire on Mt. Carmel with a prayer consisting of 64 words.

4. We are to pray securely. “Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” (Matthew 6:8)

We can be confident knowing that God knows our needs. Even though he knows our needs we are not exempt from prayer. Prayer not only helps us find union with God. It also helps cultivate trust and gives him glory because we know who provides for us.

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